Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Web 2.0 For Dummies - part4: What is Web 2.0?

This post is the forth post in the "Web 2.0 for dummies" posts, based on my Web 2.0 presentation in a conference.

The following image depicts the Meme map build in O’reilly’s brainstorming.
This is the first and original Web 2.0 Meme map.
It should be noted that the model is a developing model with no explicit boundaries.








The central part includes the gravitational elements which are definitely the core of Web 2.0.
The Web as a platform mentioned in the previous post is one of that gravitational elements and not just one of the elements but a very important element.
The lower part in near to purple color includes principles, ideas and concepts.
The upper part (dark green) includes services examples and principles related specifically to some of them.
O’reilly’s model is not the only model. There are other Meme Maps.
Analyzing and comparing different Meme Maps is beyond the scope of this post. However, the multitude of models together with the flexible boundaries enables many vendors to label their services and products as Web 2.0, although in some cases they are very far from the Web 2.0 model.
Some of the main characteristics of Web 2.0 are cited in the following bullets:
  • Uncontrolled (by vendors) Standards Based Platform
    The standards of the Web platform are not controlled by any infrastructure vendor or Web 2.0 vendor. As result of this characteristic Web 2.0 communities,companies and service providers use standards based solutions applicable to most of possible infrastructure solutions in the Web. Usually the technologies and architectures used for Web 2.0 services are relatively less complex.

  • Social Computing

Many Web 2.0 projects and services context is social. Such as professional or social networks. Other Web 2.0 initiatives includes social interactions as well.

  • Sharing Communities

Sharing could be the most important aspect of Web 2.0: Community members are contributing content, comments, voting, alerting about improper content etc. Notice that contributing is not limited to publishing content or code, but to other participation activities, such as rating.

Each Community has its interaction rules and patterns. The Community creates and improves "products". The cost model of building the "products" is a model which includes minimal or no costs for human resources. A community process is more democratic and more chaotic than a directed and controlled process within a company. This difference is reflected in the products: more innovative and creative but more volatile.
The notions of Community and Sharing imply trust in community members (sometimes without a known identity). It also includes build in Sharing ethics.

  • The Hyperlinks are the Network

In a paraphrase of the old Sun slogan "The network is the Computer" we can say that "The hyperlinks are the network". Use of hyperlinks is one of the foundations of navigating between pages in the Web2.0 cyberspace or the global network.

  • The user controls his data

From the vast amount of scattered data the user choose his data and controls it as part of his content or services. This it a two edges sword: In one hand the user has high degree of freedom, but on the other hand he has more responsibility and may use incorrect or outdated data.

other important concepts which will be introduced in future posts are Mashups and Longtail.


Potential for a lot of innovation, creativity, collaboration and cooperation is embedded in the culture of Web 2.0. However, there are many considerations: improper behavior, breach of trust and technical issues. The actual realization of breach of trust is varied according to the specific Web 2.0 project, service and community type.
The following problems are common to Web 2.0 projects:

Potential for a lot of innovation, creativity, collaboration and cooperation is embedded in the culture of Web 2.0. However, there are many considerations: improper behavior, breach of trust and technical issues. The actual realization of breach of trust is varied according to the specific Web 2.0 project, service and community type.
The following problems are common to Web 2.0 projects:

  • Intentional improper content insertion
  • Copyrights issues
  • Unintentional wrong content or code insertion
  • Intentional commercial bias
  • Criminal acts
  • Incomplete data or solutions
  • Non Systematic and not fully robust implementations

The next posts will focus on specific Web 2.0 projects. The patterns for creating value in each of them are different but share common attributes.
There is also commonality between problems different Web 2.0 communities face. The specific manifestation of that problems and specific mitigation varies.
Please keep in mind the common attributes and considerations, while reading the next posts.

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